Bon

I’ll do for love what Jesus did for the Bro Code: thicken it like hair dye when you mix the powder, water and stuff.

I’ll buy you a Smarties tube, even if it means import, and I’ll get What To Expect When You’re Expecting on Apple TV so you can watch it more than once.

And when you’re gone, they’ll pop the trunk of my car and find only gold stacks, which weigh the wheels down. And nothing after.

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DisArmoured

Playing the long game is like watching Lost, following the career of a stalwart, finding they died already.

And what if, years later, a wrong unchangeable move haunts shopping trips, and my overdrive mind works out an alternative method the math’s test didn’t suggest?

Maybe, if I was kinder and you weren’t crazy and we’d met at an instead age we wouldn’t be strangers online and off.

I estrange you, fish reel in empty lines, avoid you in the Sainsbury’s doorway and my high school friends all ra-ra-ra, smug in their youth group leaders.

Your baggage is my double full stop, P60, Breaking Dawn Part 2.

ezzz

Re: Stacks

I enjoy escalation. High views and idea seeds with potential to Dragon’s Den it. Always wondered about day drinks, like, what do your kids say about it? And when the scotch leaves a yellow stain on dead lip skin does it sting when you kiss or is your body a cocktail shook against shop bought ice, source unknown, anybody’s tap and guess?

I crush stacks, and filter my money like water with Brita, like Facebook friends I didn’t face see in five years or four. The details unreleased online like a phone number or a bedroom tidiness level, I in person suck up and teeth knock like dominos together, dice in a wooden cup.

I’ve gambled your pension, my seed money, college fund, direct debit holiday six ninety nine and saving stamps. And I gamble it again, and you, on a horse tip overheard at all day breakfast. And I win you double, sleep in the middle of you like I’m the gap between twin mattresses pushed together.

I’m the bumper; your impact, years later, is my bite degenerating after 9 years of an overnight brace.

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What You Know/What I’ll Never

I’ll never know what it’s like to marry Brad Pitt.

Which tennis player’s which.

What tattoo needles feel like under skin.

What Johnny Depp smells like,

if he’s pliable like Play-Doh

or rigid like his waxwork I photographed you next to.

If blasphemy’s the sin

I’ve been drummed with to think.

If I’ll outlive Chris.

If the world ends like a disaster movie.

If we even exist

aren’t fragments or figments,

computers or characters in

cancelled TV shows in permanent limbo,

on somebody’s wishlist.
wedding news
Written for Encounter Productions, July 2013.

On Knowledge

You get stuff, like, as much as you can. Sometimes you buy cheaper stuff so you can get more of it, to fill every house room up. You find a place for each kind of thing you have one of.

If it exists, you want it, to touch at least, and then there’s stuff you can’t afford, and you hatch plans to pay for it. It’s a dream you have to own like every fucking thing you ever thought of.

And soon you have so much stuff, most of it boxed, labelled for the next house, one after that, and an inbuilt space inside of it specifically for this set of plates, that knife, cushion covers and cardboard cut-outs of Johnny Depp as a pirate (his natural state, don’t you think?)

And people will ask, “What is it?” and you’ll not even know. You’ll say, “It cost everything and I had to get it,” or, “It was a steal, I couldn’t not.”

And knowledge is this. Exactly this. You’ll never wipe the stuff completely, shift, you wish you could unsee, unlearn, depreciate it like possessions from car boots or Poundland, Harrods or eBay, Gumtree.

Knowledge has got a ghost pain, and even the memory’s you don’t have of things which Jack assures you did happen in 2002 and 4, linger between synapses, like silt in a drain, built up so solidly gradual you don’t notice the glug, glug, glug.

stacks
Written for Encounter Productions, July 2013.

Bre/ad

You beg like a Bible verse: taut, memorable, ghost-written. He circles you like a Catherine wheel: you’re the pin, fixed to a flammable fence, and he’s the firework, sputter-ready.
.
You, Walter, have steady, cameraman hands. Cameraperson. Inclusive language is generational, a gap you misunderstand, or miss, or denigrate, the way modern gods being men isn’t a problem. For you.
.
His suit smooth like a wipe-clean-able tablecloth, you ask, “Who will you have without me?” You forget how fast you replaced Beta with VHS, Matt Damon with Ben Affleck, and back again.
.
Once, he invited you into his house, said, “Let’s break bread now,” and you remembered your tongue at the alter, a finger delivering bread, and an endorphin urge, pudding thick, to Velociraptor snap at Father Mike’s fingers.
.
Lapsed Catholic, you wait for this man to decide. He’s your boss. Important like the Commonwealth, in history. There’s no redemption, only more, a pre-written prescription you weekly forget to pick up.
.
For you, Walter, infinity’s a gas meter counter spinning into the next billing cycle.
.
walt
(Originally published on FlashFlood Journal, June 22nd 2013 & referenced on Nuala Ní Chonchúir’s blog Women Rule Writer, 31st July 2013)

Sorry Jack

My tale is atypical, tuneful, and difficult to digest. It’s about a jack-of-all-trades, whose wit is not matched letter for letter with sense. One day he will run out, long before me, because he bakes too many cake mixture cakes.

My jack-of-all-trades, who is mine in loose terms only, has mastered no trades at all, except maybe packet cookery and dealing. And that is not cards. We play games, sometimes, to shake the feeling of this fucking up and fucking around. It doesn’t shift.

I ask to cut the cake, but no. For now there is no wedding, no wedding photo, and no cutting the cake. I’ll cut you eventually.

jess

(Originally published on Pindeldyboz)

The Internship

This year I was an intern for National Flash Fiction Day, which involved receiving, compiling and covertly reading submissions before anyone else saw them. Sure, it was an admin task, the core of which involved building a spreadsheet of all the anthology entries, logging names, email addresses and word counts. But it somehow managed to be super fun. It was great seeing entries arrive in the inbox, some from recognisable names, some from newcomers, and getting to read them first. I didn’t have a say in the judging process, but it was awesome reading the stories before anyone else, trying to guess what might make the cut. The main lesson I took from this was that a story might be great, but that doesn’t mean it’ll fit into any project, necessarily. There was such a volume of entries, it must’ve been tough to choose what made it into the book, and what didn’t. And a part of that has to be which stories create a product, fit together, are cohesive. A story doesn’t always find a home on its first submission. Which is why it’s massively worth re-subbing, over and over again if need be. It was cool to see the breadth of responses too, each about a piece of art, be it book, film, sculpture, each so unique, personal, different, new.

From the spreadsheet I created a mail merge, which built a word document containing all of the submissions, each uniform, all in the same font, anonymous, with title only, so that the judges could read every story without the prejudice of knowing its author. I like that Calum and Holly read all the submissions this way, it makes it so much more fair if the first time they see the work they have no idea who submitted it. Everyone has an equal shot.

Once the selection was made, I compiled a new document with the chosen entries in it, which Calum typeset (and I still can’t believe how quickly he made the book happen, and that we’ll have it in a week).

There are many reasons I love flash. It’s the first form I really enjoyed working in. I just got it and it, me: it’s like the most reliable boyfriend/girlfriend ever. Flash can tell a whole story, a half of it, or a moment only, as it passes. It’s at times impossible to define, maybe called poetry or a prose poem in the mouths of others. It works in sequence or solo, but it’ll never spawn 7 sequels like Die Hard’s going to. It’s so much more efficient than that. Sparse yet filled with possibility which the reader injects like a jam machine in a donut factory. It’s compact, resourceful, won’t waste morsels. It’s the opposite of a Kardashian. And I’m totally, one hundred and ten percent, in love with it.

kk

Flash Kardashian

(Originally published on the National Flash Fiction Day blog, 17th June 2013)